PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s second season begins Thursday with the Mexico Open. Web.com Tour status will be awarded to the top five finishers on the Order of Merit, with the leading money earner winning the Roberto De Vicenzo Award and earning fully-exempt status on the Web.com Tour.
PGA Tour Latinoamerica will conduct 15 events in nine countries in 2013; all events will have a $150,000 purse. The schedule is divided into two halves, with the first half running from March to May. The tour resumes in October and concludes with two events in Buenos Aires: the Olivos Golf Classic-Copa Personal and the Argentine Open, which ends Dec. 8.
Mexico and Argentina will conduct three events apiece, while Brazil and Colombia will have two events each. Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru and Chile will each host one tournament.
There are 145 tour members from 24 countries. Thirty-nine members come from the United States, the most of any country. The youngest player on the tour is Argentina’s Franco Romero, who will be 18 years, 1 month, 6 days when the new season starts. Former PGA Tour winner Carlos Franco will be the oldest member, at 47 years, 9 months, 18 days.
Here are five players to watch on this year’s PGA Tour Latinoamerica:
• 1. Sebastian Vazquez, Mexico: Vazquez was medalist at the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship, leading Mexico to a runner-up finish to the United States. He won the Puerto Rico Classic on last year’s PGA Tour Latinoamerica and finished 57th last week at the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open.
• 2. Benjamin Alvarado, Chile: Alvarado was an All-American at Arizona State. After dealing with knee issues for years, he underwent surgery on both knees and stayed inactive for 14 months in 2009-10. He was the 54-hole co-leader at last week’s Web.com Tour event in Chile before finishing fourth.
• 3. Corbin Mills, United States: The 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links and Players Amateur champion, who turned pro last summer, finished third at the qualifying tournament in Sebring, Fla.
• 4. Andres Echavarria, Colombia: Echavarria finished sixth on last year’s Order of Merit, one spot from earning Web.com Tour status. He had five top-5s in 11 starts, including two runners-up. Echavarria, the 2011 SEC champion while at Florida, finished 11th in this year’s Colombia Championship on the Web.com Tour.
• 5. Jhared Hack, United States: Hack, the 2007 Western Amateur champion, won the PGA Tour Latinoamerica Q-School in Sebring, Fla., by four shots over Mark Baker.
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PGA TOUR LATINOAMERICA 2013 SCHEDULE
March 14-17: Mexican Open, Club de Golf Mexico, Mexico D.F., Mexico
March 21-24: TransAmerican Power Products CRV Open, Atlas CC, Guadalajara, Mexico
April 18-21: Abierto del Centro, Cordoba (Argentina) GC
April 25-28: Roberto de Vicenzo Invitational Copa NEC, Club de Golf Uruguay, Montevideo, Uruguay
May 2-5: Colombian Open, Club Campestre de Pereira, Pereira, Colombia
May 16-19: Mundo Maya Open, Yucatan CC, Merida, Mexico
May 23-26: Puerto Rico Classic, Dorado Beach Resort (East), San Juan, Puerto Rico
May 30-June 2: Dominican Republic Open, Cana Bay GC, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Oct. 10-13: Brazil (name, venue TBD)
Oct. 17-20: Brasil Open, Gavea GC, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Oct. 31-Nov. 3: Colombian Coffee Classic, San Andres GC, Bogota, Colombia
Nov. 7-10: Lexu Peru Open, Los Inkas GC, Lima, Peru
Nov. 21-24: Chile Open, Los Leones GC, Santiago, Chile
Nov. 28-Dec. 1: Olivos Golf Classic, Olivos GC, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Dec. 5-8: Argentine Open, TBD, Buenos Aires, Argentina